Archive for March 2003

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[eccr] Amarc Kathmandu Declaration

Mon Mar 03 14:01:08 GMT 2003

>Please  find below the Amarc Declaration at the Kathmandu Conference
>26 February 2003
>As governments, private corporations and international non-governmental
>organizations met in the worlds banking capital for the Second Preparatory
>Committee of the World Summit on the Information Society, the General
>Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters opened in
>Kathmandu, Nepal, a country in which only fifteen percent of people have
>access to electricity.  This assembly of the World Association of Community
>Radio Broadcasters convened in Kathmandu in 2003 at a moment when our world
>is grievously threatened by rampant militarism, accelerated privatization of
>our most basic resources, religious fundamentalism, and extreme capitalism.
>These collective forces threaten all human rights as defined in the United
>Nations Charter on Human Rights.  We find it inexplicable and indefensible
>that many nations have failed to sign this document more than fifty years
>after its creation.  Most of the worlds people including those in Asia
>exist in conditions of abject poverty which can only be rectified by
>insuring that all people have access to water, food, shelter, the means of
>livelihood, and that their cultural and linguistic diversity is protected.
>AMARC considers that all of these rights are underpinned by the right to
>communicate as defined in Article 19 of the UN Charter on Human Rights which
>includes the opportunity for a free exchange of information and ideas for
>all people regardless of borders.  This right is in great jeopardy where it
>is recognized and routinely infringed where it is not recognized, as the
>consolidation of ownership of mass media leaves the control of these domains
>in the hands of a few.
>Despite these conditions or because of them, there are also many hopeful
>trends regarding rights of communication.  The community radio broadcasting
>movement is rapidly growing including in areas such as Asia where there has
>been little development of this sector until now.  AMARC and its community
>radio members and partners have been able to demonstrate the possibilities
>which the right to communicate embodies.  They have directly contributed to
>progressive social change and social justice by providing access to those
>marginalized and disadvantaged by the mainstream media; have successfully
>created legislation for the sector in many countries; and have undertaken
>training projects which have built capacity and contributed to sustaining
>community access.
>There are also openings for representatives of civil society including
>grassroots movements and non-governmental organizations to participate in
>global agenda setting in the communications realm.  There are vibrant
>grassroots movements and popular actions emerging and making their presence
>felt in all global regions.
>In light of all of these things, we, the General Assembly of the World
>Association of Community Radio Broadcasters declare the following:
>Community Radio:
>" We acknowledge and endorse the African Charter on Broadcasting which
>defines community broadcasting as that which is for, by and about the
>community, whose ownership and management is representative of the
>community, which pursues a social development agenda, and which is
>" We believe that broadcasting spectra constitute a part of the global
>commons which should not be privatized, rather that only use rights should
>be given and that community media should have first access.
>" We call on all nations and governmental authorities, particularly those in
>Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa to create legislation
>which would provide access to all the electronic, especially to community
>radio in equal opportunity for all, with particular attention to the rights
>of women and children, and to provide the necessary support and training to
>make it viable.
>" We call upon all nations, governmental authorities and community radios to
>ensure access and ownership of all means of communications for women.
>" We call for regulation of frequency spectra for community radio such that
>it favors the development of this medium for the use of local communities.
>The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and Beyond:
>" We consider the WSIS that is taking place in Geneva Switzerland in
>December 2003 and in Tunis, Tunisia in 2005 to be an important venue for
>highlighting the role of community media in the overall struggle for social
>justice and peoples empowerment.
>"We, along with other progressive media sectors and civil sector actors,
>abhor the threat to an open internet or the infringement of rights to
>privacy in the name of national security or a war on terrorism, and call
>on all governments and all social forces to oppose these threats whether
>corporate or governmental.
>" We consider that it is an established fact that community media,
>particularly community radio, have given communities the means of cultural
>expression, news and information, and local dialogue.  Radio is the most
>widespread electronic communications device in the world and a unique means
>of reaching the worlds poorest communities.  Community radio broadcasting
>is increasingly recognized as a bridge across the digital divide between
>those who have access to the worlds information resources and those who do
>"We, therefore, urge all the participants in the WSIS process to recognize
>and support the role of community media in providing spaces for peoples
>voices to be heard in the formulation and implementation of national,
>regional, and international policies on information and communication
>technologies and in the construction of an information society which is
>globalized for the many rather than the few. Further, this approach must
>extend beyond the WSIS into the foreseeable future.
>The Role of Community Media in Progressive Social Movements:
>" We consider the emergence of social justice movements such as the World
>Social Forums to be essential in achieving the goals stated above and commit
>AMARCs resources to continued participation in them as a critical conduit
>for information about such events and actions.  However, we regret that such
>movements have often tended to marginalize community broadcasting to the
>same degree that has existed in the governmental and corporate sectors.
>" We, therefore, call on the organizers of these movements to recognize and
>support the role of community media in providing spaces for peoples voices
>to articulate the ways in which they imagine that another world is possible,
>and to open a seat at the planning table for representatives of community
>The General Assembly of AMARC  is committed to the realization of the Right
>to Communicate in its broadest, most inclusive sense.  We pledge to work to
>protect our members and those they serve from any infringement of this right
>and thereby to contribute to the securing of all the rights included in the
>United Nations Charter on Human Rights and those rights which have been
>ratifies since its establishment. We will do so in the open, transparent and
>accountable manner which we demand from the other sectors with which we
>George Christensen
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Carpentier Nico (Phd)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Free University Brussels
Studies on Media, Information & Telecommunication (SMIT)
Centre for Media Sociology (CeMeSO)
Office: C0.05
Pleinlaan 2 - B-1050 Brussels - Belgium
T: ++ 32 (0)2-629.18.30
F: ++ 32 (0)2-629.28.61
E-mail: (Nico.Carpentier /at/

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